No wildflowers at Shrader-Weaver; Green Drinks talk in April

Well, I don’t know if the spectacular wildflower display at Shrader-Weaver Nature Preserve has begun this spring. Plans to head east toward this National Natural Landmark near Richmond were nixed by this past week’s cold snap. A virus in shooting partner Gary Morrison’s household likewise axed Plan B for a day at the Goose Pond Fish & Wildlife Area, but that’s another story.

That convergence of uncontrollable events essentially kept me on the keyboard this spring teaching break researching and writing up places like Shrader-Weaver, as well as identifying the 250 plant species I’ve listed so far – the unsexy part of guidebook writing. Goals were reached this break, suffice it to say on that.

Shrader-Weaver Nature Preserve is a place I’ve never been but is anything but mundane. The National Park Service says 29 of its upland acres merit natural landmark status for their “outstanding pre-settlement beech-maple forest” with “unusually large trees, such as a 56-inch diameter burr oak and a 34-inch diameter black maple.”

And that doesn’t even speak to Shrader-Weaver’s reputation. The Nature Conservancy says its wildflower species are “too many to count.” A short list includes the state-endangered nodding trillium, as well as red trillium, skunk cabbage, golden ragwort, marsh marigold, jewelweed, blue-eyed Mary, Dutchman's breeches, spring beauty, blue phlox, Solomon's seal, doll's eyes, Mayapple, geranium, and waterleaf.

Shrader-Weaver likewise is a story for another time, a coming attraction, so to speak. When the floral explosion occurs, I’ll be there.

Talking green drinks on April 26

Another place I will be is the April gathering of Green Drinks Bloomington at the Upland Brewery Banquet Facility. I’ve been asked to make a 20-minute presentation on an as-yet-to-be-determined angle on natural Indiana.

I recall attending what I believe was their first get-together, at the Upland, though it was too many years ago to be sure of that detail. I may have covered it for The Bloomington Alternative.

From their website, the Green Drinks folks self-describe their gatherings as: “a lively, informal social networking event for people from all walks of life who are interested in making a greener world.  Folks gather every month to share libations and ideas, discuss, debate, explore and make new friends and business connections.”

This month’s topic was “Environmental Policy and Advocacy in the Hoosier State” with the Hoosier Environmental Council’s Outreach Coordinator Amanda Shepherd.

I’m honored to have been asked and look forward to sharing the Natural Bloomington experience with them. Should be interesting.

In the meantime, here are a couple of the first wildflower shots from this time last year at the deservedly obscure Twin Creek and Cave River Valleys to the south.

Photographs: Top, Twin Creek Valley and Henderson Park; Bottom, Cave River Valley Natural Area


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